Skip to main content

No results found

Hanborough Gate banner
Eat, Sleep, Drink, Eat

Fermentation

divider
Kimchi and Chopsticks on Wooden Table

What is it? The modification of complex organic substances into simpler compounds by enzymes produced by microorganisms such as yeast in anaerobic conditions i.e. without oxygen. This process produces waste products, some of which are desirable in food, namely alcohol, carbon dioxide and preservative acids.

Despite its ubiquity and it being responsible for some of the world’s favourite things, the word ‘fermented’ seems to put people off. Perhaps it’s felt to be an antonym of ‘fresh’ and therefore reminiscent of spoilage. Whatever the reason, it’s totally undeserving of these connotations. Fermentation can create fantastically unique and complex flavours, whilst conferring serious health benefits.

Self-confessed food obsessive and fermentation advocate, Emma Collen, owner of the fabulous Jericho Kitchen Cookery School, had her passion for all things fermented ignited by a lesson from Simon Poffley, author of Ferment, Pickle, Dry: Ancient Methods, Modern Meals. “His opening line pulled me in straight away – ‘Hippocrates made this statement over two thousand years ago, and it is truer today than ever – “all disease begins in the gut.”’ I immediately wanted to know more.” We now know a vast amount more than Hippocrates did about digestion and the importance of ‘intestinal flora’ to our health. We’ve all heard mention of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, and this is where fermentation comes in. Good bacteria help us to break down foods to extract more nutrients, and resist the propagation of bacteria that make us ill.

The benefits of a healthy gut are expansive, but modern lifestyle choices can adversely affect this in many ways. “Today we are challenged from so many directions,” says Emma, “lifestyle and diet, stress,”¯toxic chemicals”¯in our food, water and environment, alcohol consumption and frequent use of antibiotics all deplete our healthy supply of beneficial enzymes and bacteria. Supplementing with”¯friendly bacteria”¯helps to keep harmful bacteria from multiplying in our intestines.”

So if this ancient technique seems like the kind of thing that you might benefit from for a happier, healthier and more varied culinary year, then why not try one of these recipes at home, courtesy of Emma.

If you’d like to learn more, check out the classes on offer at jerichokitchen.co.uk.

‘Food Fermentation with Simon Poffley’ runs Sunday 27 January.

Kimchi

Fermentation Kimchi Cabbage

There are around 300 versions of this traditional fermented Korean side dish. Shop-bought kimchi usually includes fish sauce but you can skip this ingredient if you want to make it vegetarian. The following recipe is a basic vegetarian version.

Ingredients


300g Chinese cabbage

30g sea salt (6% of water content)

500ml water

20g Korean chilli flakes

1 heaped tsp minced garlic

1 heaped tsp grated ginger

30g mooli, shredded

40g spring onion (or leek) finely cut

½ tsp sugar (optional)

Method

Soak coarsely chopped or quarters of Chinese cabbage in a brine with the salt and leave for 2-8 hours (or overnight). Rinse the cabbage well, and gently squeeze excess water out of the leaves. Make up a paste from the other ingredients and rub onto each piece of cabbage. Pack the cabbage into a jar and leave out with lid ajar, then place in fridge. This will be ready after about 6-10 days.

”¯

Pineapple and Turmeric Kraut

Fermentation kimchi in bowl

Ingredients

200g white cabbage

200g pineapple, peeled and cubed

1 heaped tsp grated ginger

Pinch of turmeric powder

6g salt

Method

Mix the salt and cabbage and knead/squeeze well. Add the pineapple, ginger and turmeric and mix well.”¯Pack into a sterilised jar and make sure the brine covers the vegetables.”¯Leave to ferment in a warm place (approx.. 21°C) for 5-8 days.”¯

Fermentation saurkerat on fork

RECOMMENDED

Soul Fire Farm 12 sfl1tq
Tue 31 Dec 2019

Soul Fire Farm

"This Land is our Classroom"

Leah Penniman, author, activist and farmer, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. She and her team at Soul Fire Farm in upstate New York are working to increase farmland

CDBA433E C5C7 4325 9AE2 89AF1CCE2EE9 goa5gf
Sat 7 Dec 2019

There’s nothing small about the USA’s small-town mentality. Their introductory smiles warp the space-time continuum while they regale you with stories about the bar down the road

Belle 8 w p looking up garejf
Sat 7 Dec 2019

So far in these pages we’ve featured a maître d’ and a concierge – rather splendidly I think you’d agree – but this month we thought we’d leave the gilded

PP1515 Windsor Castle Peter Packer ss2zwp
Fri 29 Nov 2019

Upwardly Mobile

Following the Travel Trends of the Royals

Inspired by mingling with costumed Royals from the past at Hampton Court’s Festive Fayre, Lita Doolan discovers new ways to be upwardly mobile this holiday by following the travel trends